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Senate withdraws controversial anti-EFCC motion

According to reports, the Senate Tuesday in a dramatic U-turn withdrew a controversial motion targeted at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The motion entitled, “Undue dramatization of the fight against corruption in Nigeria” was sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North)

The motion specifically lampooned the EFCC for alleged “penchant for undue publicity of its body of evidence at the commencement of investigation.”

Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, had called Utazi to present his motion.

Senator Utazi is Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes.

All eyes turned to Senator Utazi’s seat only to discover that he had already left the chamber before Lawan called him to lead debate of his motion.

Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the day’s plenary, informed his colleagues that the motion had been withdrawn.

Though no further explanation was offered on why the motion was withdrawn by its sponsor, sources said that the leadership of the Senate might have felt uncomfortable with the controversial motion.

One of the sources said that the Senate might have thought it unwise to start a fresh showdown with the anti-graft commission.

Utazi noted in the withdrawn motion published in the Order Paper “EFCC’s approach tends to compromise the strength of the evidence that could be presented to secure conviction in judicial proceedings.

“I am disturbed about the string of losses of corruption and financial crimes-related cases in court in recent past.

“These losses, due mainly to insufficient and sometimes, shoddy investigation and the presentation of inadequate unconvincing body of evidence has cast a dark cloud on the efforts of the current government to reduce corruption in Nigeria to the barest minimum.
“The recourse of, especially the EFCC in blaming the judiciary whenever it loses its case in court is a failure to acknowledge the commission’s shortcomings in the build-up to each case.

“The EFCC’s emphasis on media trial before the conclusion of investigation weakens its case and gives the country a bad image in the comity of nations, discouraging the much-needed foreign investments.

“Nigeria is not the only country that fights corruption and related crimes with the requisite zeal, but we do not hear of putrid stories of sleazy discoveries put out by countries’ anti-corruption agencies to every medium of communication to portray the country in bad light.

“The sudden discoveries of abandoned loot, at airports, in septic and water tanks, in high-brow apartments and the dramatization of the process of the discovery of these orphaned monies paint the anti-corruption war in unpalatable colours, giving the world an impression of a group seeking applause through propaganda and engaging in a circus show to a rather grave national effort.”

The Enugu North lawmaker prayed the Senate to urge the EFCC to de-emphasis propaganda and undue publicity in its operations and concentrate on the competent discharge of its core mandate.

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